Certified nursing assistants, or CNAs are integral members of any nursing team. They are a nurse’s eyes and ears, observing patients so that nurses may spend time working on more specialized procedures. Health care is a profession that can take a professional in a wide variety of directions, working in various different settings to provide care for those who need it the most. Here is a brief overview of where CNAs are needed, and how the various settings differ from each other.
- Personal homes: Many families hire personal nurses to watch over their loved ones around the clock. CNAs may even live at these residences to provide 24/7 care for an individual needing it. Pay can be better in these situations than working at large institutions, but it truly can be a full-time job, as in around the clock. Also, working with one patient and one patient only has its benefits and drawbacks. It can lead to close personal relationships, but if the patient being worked with is not very social, can be exhausting and frustrating.
- Nursing homes: CNAs are absolutely needed at nursing facilities that provide around the clock, intensive care. Nursing assistants work in shifts and with many patients with a vast array of needs. Working with the elderly presents its own challenges, but for those who enjoy it, is incredibly rewarding. Working at a nursing home allows for more socialization than working at a personal home, both with more patients and with fellow staff. CNAs may get to know patients who stay for even years a time very well, as turnover at nursing homes is much lower than in other sectors.
- Hospitals: At hospitals, CNAs may need more specialized skill depending on what section of the hospital one is working in. CNAs often do prep for surgery, physical therapy, and other procedures. They also handle regular CNA duties like checking in on patients, cleaning rooms and linens, moving patients in and out of bed, transporting patients, feeding patients, etc. Turnover at hospitals is generally very high, so CNAs will not be forging close relationships with patients and will be keeping it strictly medical. CNAs will have many patients to work with, and so must be able to multi-task and have an excellent memory and organizational skills.
- Hospices: One of the tougher areas for many to work in is in the hospice sector. Here, CNAs care for those that are dying or terminally ill at the end of their lives. For those with the reserve to do so, it is rewarding to be able to make someone comfortable and feel cared for as they pass on. Turnover is high, and CNAs will care for individuals in various states of consciousness and incapacitation. Duties are similar to those in other sectors, though there will be fewer patients and those individuals will need to be watched over more closely than some others.